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I used to turn over the problem of distribution for small press quite a bit. Distribution is a key challenge for most creative industries, at least those that aren’t digital. One of the business models my brother and I used to toss around was a co-op that would take on the functions of distribution, sales and marketing. Neither of us had the energy or time to tackle it but I’m really heartened to see strong cooperative efforts in independent publishing.
The best of these is SPUNC (Small Press Underground Collective) which has a well articulated vision and fantastic engagement with the broader publishing and bookselling industry.
Today I also learned the indefatigable Tehani Wessley has launched a blog to raise the profile of Australian small press.
It struck me that while Australian small press produce some amazing works, often they receive little wider recognition due to a restricted distribution. This means authors don’t receive all the kudos they should, general readership don’t get access to many of these productions, and has a negative impact on further projects. I’d like to see that change. This is just my way of seeing if I can help increase the visibility of small press publishers in Australia to libraries, retailers and readers outside the traditional sales sphere of small press.
An admirable project! Tehani is so far focusing on speculative fiction publishers. Hopefully she and the gang at SPUNC will find each other and team up, especially as SPUNC has funding.